Top Nevada juvenile justice experts called for wholesale changes in how the state treats its underage offenders, saying current rehabilitation methods are outdated, reports the Las Vegas Sun. One state legislator suggested user fees on divorces as a way to pay for reforms.
Kirby Burgess, director of Clark County Juvenile Justice Services, appearing this week before a legislative committee meeting on the state’s juvenile justice system, proposed community-based programs to allow minors convicted of small-scale crimes to return to mainstream society. A progressive house arrest program that would reduce the number of children remanded to state facilities could be included, he said: “It isn’t a novel idea, it’s just new to us…We either pay now or pay later. An independent living transitional system is needed.”
The Clark County juvenile population is 9.1 percent black, but the percentage of black children sent to state facilities is almost double that, at 16.1 percent.
The suggested programs would cost between $500,000 and $600,000 to start but would ultimately save money. The state estimates it costs $141 per day to keep a juvenile in detention; electronic monitoring cost $25.